As we were busy researching gear for comparison pages of the lightest equipment the last couple of weeks – skis, boots and bindings – the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF) was busy creating a list of gear that would be approved for racing. They labeled it the ISMF White List.
Show me the White List
Unfortunately, due to the way the ISMF website is built there is no unique link to any page on their site, same goes for White List.
Therefore, to browse the White List go to ISMF home page and in the middle column you will see a banner that will point you to the right page.
The navigation through the White List is somewhat confusing, so be patient and forward thinking 😉
People that studied the latest version of the ISMF competition rules (for 2012/13 season) know that there are some grey areas that create confusion about whether a certain piece of equipment would be in fact legal at an ISMF sanctioned event.
On top of that, the White List doesn’t seem to include some big names at the moment, for example Dynastar and Pierre Gignoux are not there.
With curiosity I emailed ISMF directly my questions:
Thank you for the information on the newly created equipment white list. And hopefully you can clarify something for me.
I own and are planning to buy some equipment that is not currently on the “white list”, so I want to ask:
If equipment is not on the white list does that mean it is illegal for ISMF sanctioned competitions (such as World Cup)?
What about Dynastar skis or Pierre Gignoux boots (those brands and their equipment are not on the white list), will you allow me to compete with that equipment?
Does a company have to be part of the manufacturers’ pool in order to make their equipment legal, put on the white list?
I got an answer yesterday which is actually almost identical with what they just clarified on their website (home page banner). But they clarified even further which I thanked them for.
ISMF response (interesting in red):
“The ISMF White List is a list of products all relevant to competitive ski mountaineering – provided by various manufacturers which are member of the ISMF Manufacturers’ Pool. Each product is self-certified by the manufacturer to fit within ISMF Sporting Regulations. Therefore when a skier looks at the ISMF White List he/she knows that the products are suitable for use in ISMF races. Items which do not feature in the list are not necessarily outside of the guidelines, it’s just that the manufacturer has chosen not to participate in this initiative, therefore the validity of products not listed should be checked directly with information provided by the manufacturers. In any case the equipment used in ISMF competitions must comply with the ISMF Sporting Rules.”
They added this bit for me:
“You can buy the brand you would prefer: the only important aspect is that if you would like to compete in an ISMF race the equipment should comply with the ISMF Rules.
The advantage of the white list is the fact that you have already a list of certified products, so you don’t need to ask to the manufacturers if the material complies with ISMF rules.”
Confusion still exists
I applaud the effort to put the White List together, it was long due.
However, by always referring to the rules, should one be in doubt, one will do so. The crux is that the rules aren’t crystal clear about bindings, specifically the release functionality – no specs are provided/required – leaves room for self-interpretation.
And with essentially manufacturers self-submitting (certifying) their equipment into the White List they must have figured that as long as a binding has a release mode it’s good enough.
Does anyone actually know what is OK-ed by the rules?
Have an opinion on rules around bindings?
With the above I wanted to help you clarify some things, and at the same time provide my opinion that there is still some confusion existing. To me, based on the rules, it’s not clear what a “safety release system” means, thus it leads me to assume that as long as the binding releases it’s legal.
Quoting from ISMF rules, section about bindings (regarding toe is in red):
“which allow heel movement during ascents and are blocked for descents;
front and rear parts:
• The rear part of the bindings must have front and lateral release safety systems.
• If front bindings have limited or no release safety system or can be used locked without a safety
system, it must be clearly specified in the written information supplied with the equipment that these
bindings are designed for competition and don’t require a safety release system for the front part of
It is recommended to use a safety release system in the front part, which will be compulsory
from the season 2012-2013.
For the season 2012-2013, a minimal distance of 4mm will be imposed between the rear part
of the boot and the heel piece.
(NB : ski stoppers are no longer compulsory for the 2013-2014 season)”
What do you make of it?